Results tagged ‘ Adrian Gonzalez ’

Winter of ’10-11 about to be undone

If the Red Sox-Dodgers blockbuster trade clears the final hurdles and gets consummated, it will effectively eliminate one of the most dramatic 72-hour periods in team history.

Remember all that buzz at the Winter Meetings in Dallas in December of 2010? On the eve of the Meetings, then-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein finally acquired his long sought-after prize — slugger Adrian Gonzalez — in a blockbuster with the Padres. And just three days later, Epstein was at it again, striking a seven-year, $142-million deal with free agent Carl Crawford.

One epic September collapse of 2011 and highly disappointing 2012 season later, and it appears Gonzalez and Crawford will again be linked together — this time in a trade that sends them to Los Angeles, along with underachieving righty Josh Beckett.

Though Gonzalez was largely the hitter the Red Sox expected him to be (.321, 42 homers, 203 RBIs, .895 OPS in 1,114 at-bats), he didn’t always seem thrilled with the attention that came with playing in this market.

Ditto for Crawford, who was often surprised to be swarmed by media members, whether it was for an injury update or something else newsworthy.

As for Beckett — who will also be in the deal assuming he doesn’t exercise his 10-5 rights —  I think it had become pretty obvious that his time had run its course here in recent weeks and months.

The Red Sox will be able to re-allocate the money they would have paid those three players next year — which would have been well in excess of $200 million — and have a highly interesting offseason.

Covering the team this season, it seems that the baggage that came with last year’s collapse never really went away. So if this trade does go down, perhaps there will be a cleansing of sorts.

 

Shoppach denies involvement in text-gate

Mets catcher Kelly Shoppach denied a New York Daily News report that stated he sent a text message to team ownership from Adrian Gonzalez’s phone, complaining, among other things, that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine allowed Jon Lester to stay in the game long enough to allow 11 earned runs on July 22.

“I wasn’t behind any texts, I actually didn’t even attend the meeting,” Shoppach told reporters following the Mets-Nationals game in Washington D.C. “It was on an off day in New York, and I stayed back in Texas with my family. I’ve already gotten a few text messages from some of my former teammates apologizing that my name was even brought up in it. Everybody that’s involved with that whole situation knows that I had nothing to do with it. So like I said, I’m a Met now and I’m really excited to be here. We’re on a fun group of guys, and I wish the Red Sox nothing but well. I had a great time while I was there, but I’m a Met now and I’m excited about the opportunity here.”

To buy or sell becoming a real dilemma for Cherington

It all seemed so simple at the All-Star break. The Red Sox would get Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back to start the second half and go on a nice little run. Then Ben Cherington’s trade strategy would be simple. He would add a piece or two to help the Red Sox get that extra push for their pursuit of a playoff berth.

And like clockwork, they ripped off five wins in their first seven games, the last of those five a thrilling win on a Cody Ross three-run walkoff shot.

How many games have the Red Sox won since Ross got bathed in a splash of Gatorade? That would be zero. The Sox have lost four in a row to fall 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East, and four behind the A’s for the second Wild Card spot.

So now what does Cherington do?

“I mean, we hope not,” Dustin Pedroia said, when asked if the Sox could become sellers by July 31. “That second wild card, it could come down to the last week of the season. I was talking to Gary Tuck on the bus. He tells me every year, ‘Look at the standings Sept. 15 and see where you’re at.’ Usually every year, I remember 2010, we had half of our starters hurt and we look up Sept. 15 and we’re still there. We’ve got to keep fighting. That’s our mindset.”

But Cherington has to protect the Red Sox both this year and going forward. To help this year’s team, he might have to mortgage a future trip. And he must ask himself in that case: Has this team justified giving away future chips for?

There is always added tension in a clubhouse at this time of year, as rumors make their way from team to team. Almost to a man, the Red Sox say they aren’t thinking along these lines.

“All we can focus on is going out there and playing the game today,” said Adrian Gonzalez. “That’s all we can control. That’s what I’m pretty sure everyone feels in here. We’re not focused on the trade deadline. I don’t even know what today is to be honest with you. Actually I do know. today is the 23rd. that means it’s my daughter’s eight-month birthday. That’s the only reason I know what today is.”

Cherington is fully aware of the date. Back in 1987, the late Lou Gorman released veterans Bill Buckner and Don Baylor, and let the kids – from Ellis Burks to Mike Greenwell to Sam Horn to Todd Benzinger to John Marzano — play for the rest of the season.

Could Cherington take a similar approach this year with prospects like Ryan Lavarnway and Jose Iglesias and unload a few veterans?

The Red Sox are likely going to determine his path with what they do on the final five games of this crucial road trip through Texas and New York.

“It’s the same mood,” said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “We’re trying to win. We’ve got to go out there and battle. We’ve just got to continue to do what we do best, and that’s stay in there and grind. We’ve got to pitch better. We’ve got to play better. We’ve been playing decent baseball since the break. Obviously, the last homestand wasn’t great, but other than that, we’ve been playing all right.”

To become a factor in 2012 — and to buy instead of sell — the Red Sox need to start playing better than all right real soon.

Bobby V. backs Aceves

At least for now, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine wants to stick with Alfredo Aceves in the ninth inning. Mark Melancon will also still be asked to get important outs.

“Everything happened so quickly,” Valentine said. “He thinks he’s making pretty good pitches. I do too. Mark was pretty close to finishing that out. The ball wasn’t that bad a pitch. It’s not like we say make up something to new and we have to come up with something different. We’ve got to have a little better results and I think we’ll have that.”

Valentine didn’t hide from the awkwardness of the Daniel Bard situation, knowing full well that there’s he public perception that he should be closing.

“We’ve talked and he gets it,” Valentine said. “Poor guy has been thrown into a situation that no one should have to be thrown into really before his first major league start of the season. Words aren’t going to do anything more than his performance will, that’s for sure.”

The lineup is back to what it was the first two games, except Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz won’t be back to back. Youkilis will hit cleanup, separating the lefty sluggers.

“I don’t think I really need to say why. There might be a little madness there though,” Valentine said.

Youkilis went hitless in his first two games, so this could be a way for him to get better pitches to hit.

Gut check time starts tonight at Fenway

What is easily the biggest series of Boston’s baseball season starts tonight at Fenway, as the Rays come in for the first of a four-game series. Obviously this series is huge because the Sox didn’t take care of business last weekend at Tropicana Field, losing three straight.

The Rays deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the way they’ve hung in this thing, beating the Red Sox head on nine out of 14 times entering tonight.

“Against us, their pitching – they have a plan and they follow through with it,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “They’ve really done a good job against our hitters for the most part. They have very good pitching. They’re a hard team to play because they’re so aggressive and if you give them an opening they make you pay for it. Saying that, I’m kind of looking forward to this series. It’ll be fun to play. Because they are – they feel good about themselves. So this will be fun to play.”

This game is going to be the hardest of the four for the Sox to win, with Kyle Weiland facing a talented pitcher in Jeremy Hellickson.

“The kid tonight pitches beyond his years as far as maturity and his changeup. And he has enough velocity,” Francona said of Hellickson.

Here are all the permutations possible by the end of the weekend.

Sox win all four. They lead the Rays by eight with 10 to go.

Sox win three out of four. They lead the Rays by six with 10 to go.

Sox and Rays split the series. Sox still lead the Rays by four with 10 to go.

Rays win three out of four. They leave town two games behind the Sox with 10 to go.

Rays sweep. The teams are tied with 10 to play.

The Red Sox had some good news on the injury front today, as Clay Buchholz pitched off a mound for the first time since being shut down two months ago. Buchholz threw 15 pitches in front of the mound and 15 off of it. The righty’s big test will come Saturday, when he is scheduled to have a full-blown side session.

The other good news is that the lineup has both David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez, who have recovered enough from their nagging injuries to play in this one.

Old Home Night at Fenway

Is this a baseball game or a family reunion? There is definitely a different feel tonight at Fenway, where Adrian Gonzalez is playing against the Padres for the first time and Anthony Rizzo — one of the centerpieces of the trade — is making his Fenway debut against the team that drafted him and helped him through his recovery from cancer.

Then there is Dave Roberts coaching first base, Jed Hoyer back in town as Padres GM and Jason McLeod, the mastermind behind the drafting of Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard etc., back as San Diego’s assistant GM.

“It’s old home week,” Francona said.

One fact is that it will be special for Dave Roberts and the Red Sox every time he walks into Fenway Park for the rest of his life. Roberts now coaches first for the Padres.

“If it wasn’t for Dave, you’d be talking to somebody else [instead of me],” quipped Francona.

There is also a human interest element to the return of Roberts, as he recently overcame lymphoma, undergoing his treatments at the Jimmy Fund.

“It’s great. Obviously, I’m in a different capacity. I’m not playing for the Sox. I’m not coming here for treatments. I’m a coach now. But it’s fun. I’m trying to live through these guys and let them know how special this place is,” Roberts said.

As for the low-key Gonzalez, he took the day for what it was. And then he bashed a hard single to left in his first at-bat.

“Yeah, I had lunch with a few of [my ex-teammates], we hung out a ltitle bit. We walked to the ballpark. It was a good afternoon. Now it’s about playuing the game,” said Gonzalez.

Rizzo, on the other hand, figured to have a lot more in the nerves department.

“My emotions? I don’t know. It’s a blessing in disguise, maybe, that I’m playing here with everything they helped me through. Just going to come out and try to play good baseball,” Rizzo said.

It was one of those nights when everyone was happy to see each other. Francona put it best.

“This is kind of a win-win for everybody,” Francona said. “To get Gonzi, you’ve got to give up some pretty special people and he certainly is and has a chance to be, not just as a player but as a person. He’s a pretty solid kid.”

Odds and Ends from Fenway, April 29

  • Matt Albers, who relieved an injured Daisuke Matsuzaka in the fifth, said after Boston’s 5-4 loss to the Mariners that he had as much time as he needed to warm up. Albers was just on the DL because of a strained right lat, but said he wasn’t worried about a flare-up. That injury was minor to begin with. Albers threw two scoreless innings and allowed one hit, striking out and walking one.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury has a season-high eight-game hit streak after going 1-for-4 on Friday night. The last time he had a hit streak that length was July 31 to Aug. 8, 2009.  “Last week or so though, he’s using the whole field, he’s getting on top of the ball when he hits the ball to left field, and he’s hitting a lot of line drives,” manager Terry Francona said before the game.
  • Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz both have a hit streak at six games. Gonzalez has multiple hits in four of those games. He went 2-for-4 Friday and is 12-for-27 during the streak (.444). Gonzalez scored the 500th run of his career in the third inning Friday.
  • The Red Sox were 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position Friday. Boston entered the day hitting .217 with runners on second and/or third, fourth-worst in the Majors and second-worst in the American League (behind Oakland). “We’ve not been real good at it so far,” Francona said before the game. “That’s something we drastically want to improve on.”
  • Bobby Jenks was a stand-up guy when answering questions after he took the loss Friday, waiting by his locker for reporters to return from the media room. In a note possibly related to his performance, and possibly related to nothing, Jenks also appeared to have shaved after the game.
  • Comedic line of the night went to Jason Varitek. Asked what Daisuke Matsuzaka said when he went out to the mound to check on the right-hander in the fifth, the captain responded: “Well, he said it in Japanese, so I don’t really know.”
  • On a 70-degree day in Boston, Mike Cameron jokingly wore a Red Sox ski hat in the clubhouse before batting practice. He went on to hit two home runs.
– Evan Drellich

Gonzalez debut is a hit

Upon arrival into the Red Sox clubhouse today, the security attendant at the door said, “Pretty nice lineup today.”

So I glanced and there it was, Adrian Gonzalez batting third, and playing first base.

Recovering from right shoulder surgery, Gonzalez had yet to play an exhibition game this spring.

But on his first pitch of the Grapefruit League season, Gonzalez ripped a line single to left. And it was against one of baseball’s best — if most underrated pitchers — in Josh Johnson.

Here is the full lineup. Aside from Cameron in for Crawford, it’s a lot like what you will see on Opening Day in Texas:

Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Youkilis 3B
Ortiz DH
Drew RF
Cameron LF
Saltalamacchia C
Scutaro SS

Lackey SP

Gonzalez targets next week for debut

Adrian Gonzalez went through a full round of batting practice on the field at City of Palms Park today and anticipates playing in his first exhibition game by next week, though he did leave wiggle room to get in there a little sooner.

“Tomorrow I’ll hit again on the field if everything feels good tomorrow morning and see how it responds hitting back-to-back days,” Gonzalez said. “Right now, the plan is to take it easy on Thursday. I don’t think I’m going to be off, but I’m going to back off and give it a rest so I can start planning out for some kind of game action next week sometime, maybe even earlier, I don’t know. Maybe next week sometime.”

One thing Gonzalez wants to make clear is that the injury and subsequent surgery should have minimal impact on his offensive performance.

“The biggest change for me to be able to dive after a ball on defense,” Gonzalez said. “That’s the biggest plan because I could hit last year, no problem. But I was limited in diving. That’s the biggest reason I had it. It wasn’t for my hitting. After I did it three or four times and everything flared up, it wasn’t feeling good. You teach yourself to stop diving.”

Gonzalez set for tee ball

Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who had right shoulder surgery over the winter, has been cleared to start swinging a bat.

Gonzalez hit off the tee on Monday, and will do again for the next two days, and the team will evaluate the next step after that.

The slugger will have no problem at all being ready for Opening Day and is, in fact, ahead of schedule.

Here was the statement issued by the Red Sox:

“Adrian reported to Spring Training in excellent condition after working with the team training staff this offseason.  He was evaluated on Friday (February 18) at the time of his Spring Training physical examination by the team’s medical staff.  At that time, he was noted to have full range of motion, no tenderness, and excellent strength.  Based upon this examination, Medical Director Dr. Tom Gill spoke with Dr. Altchek yesterday, who performed the surgery, and it was agreed that Adrian could begin hitting off of a tee. Adrian will continue to work with Head Athletic Trainer Mike Reinold and the team’s training staff to work on his shoulder rehabilitation program, while incorporating more baseball specific activity as his progression allows.”

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